Monday, June 30, 2014

REVIEW - LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira


Love Letters to the Dead
by Ava Dellaira
Publisher - Hot Key Books
Release Date - May 1st 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository


It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person - any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart... it's like she can't stop. And she'd certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it's like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time - and how her family has shattered since May died.

But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can't keep real life out forever. The ghosts of her past won't be contained between the lines of a page, and she will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister, and the realisation that only you can shape your destiny.
I'm not usually seen reading books in either a diary or letter format. For me I'm quite the opposite when the fact you should feel more connected on a interpersonal level but I just don't. I'm disconnected and I don't feel part of the book or the basis of the character's life. However, that aside, Love Letters to the Dead is an inspirational turn of events when the main character records her life through an English Assignment.
“I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won't be as good as everyone imagines we could be.”
Although, many of us find inspirations in other artists and famous stars, I'm less inclined to feel that way unlike some of my friends. Though, Laurel uses her sister's death to explain to those up in the stars about her own life and how the loss of her sister, May, effects her. I felt that May's death carried a emotional and conscious part of Laurel's almost as if, she was no longer her real self but a shell of grief and guilt that she has never really been able to admit and relieve herself of.

The first letter of the novel starts with, Kurt Cobain... admittedly I've only really knew who Kurt and the band Nirvana was from a friend, which I know is probably an insult on the music industry.
"Dear Kurt Cobain.....I wish you could tell me where you are and why you left. You were my sister May's favourite musician..."
Kurt was certainly a reoccurring guest in Laurel's like she felt more connected with him than any of the other people she would write to. Once she starts to feel connected on a deeper level with Kurt, she decided to communicate with others that would highlight a piece of her life and her soul. She is able to relate some traumatic or beautiful moment between her and her sister to those who were seen fro their talent but not necessarily who they are as people. Personally I felt, that Amelia Earhart and Amy Whinehouse had the most influence with their historic and recent status within the media.

Within her letters, Laurel reveals more about herself than she does about her sister. She is mad at her sister for leaving her, for her mum leaving her and her dad being no more than just her father. She survives through the love of another, Sky, but is too closed to commit to the relationship. She has truth issues, first she has to trust herself in order to survive the loss, grief, guilt and sadness.
Jim, I want people to know me, but if anyone could look inside me, if they saw that everything I feel is not what it's supposed to be, I don'y know what would happen."
Dellaira creates a beautifully written and emotional realistic story of young girl surviving her life through the lives of inspirational people. It made me realise that at the end of the day we are all human and person to be recognised for who we are.  If you want a read completely different and unique from other literature of this genre, then I would recommend it!

Rating - 4

27 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if I could get through such a dark novel, especially as contemporary isn't my genre of choice usually, but I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one so much, Emma! Yet another beautifully written review! :)

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    1. I was like that when I first started the novel. But before I didn't really know what I was getting myself into! Thank you so much, Keertana! :)

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  2. Ehh, I can tell that even though everyone adores this one, it's not for me :/ it's just not appealing at all for me. Though I'm so glad that you enjoyed this inspirational novel. Yeah, I've heard that Cobain is really important in this one. I take it that this one is thoroughly character-driven? I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Emma!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that. But I can understand that it may not be everyone's cup of tea! It certainly isn't usually mine either. Yes, it is very character driven, especially Laurel's and Sky's character. Thank you, Siiri!

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  3. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one, because I'm not usually a fan of books in diary-format either. I'm not much of a music fan, either, so I'm not sure this will be for me. Fabulous review, Emma!

    Hafsah @ IceyBooks

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    1. No me either, diary format usually puts me off the novel entirely! Thank you for stopping by Hafsah! :)

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  4. I really liked how this book was so unique and kind of brought back some of the celebrities who have died. The way you described Laurel was beautiful. Great review!

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    1. It is, I think that's what made it stand out with inspiration written literature to famous stars. Thank you so much, Jeann!

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  5. I completely agree with you. I cannot usually connect with characters when a book is written in a diary, letter or anything else format so I usually avoid them but the few exceptions I have made have been worth it, including this book, so I am glad to see you enjoyed it as well!

    Don't worry.. I've actually only heard of most of the people mentioned in this book by name but the really good thing about this book is that I never really felt left out as a result of that. I always felt included and I felt for all these artists/people mentioned just as I felt for Laurel.

    Admittedly, Laurel was a tricky character and sometimes hard for me to get behind but in the end I really fell for this book.

    Lovely review, Emma! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. Definitely, this one was certainly an exception and one I really enjoyed more than I thought I might have done! I agree on the second point, Rashika! I felt very much part of it and what little I knew of the people, I would be educated basically on their history. It was very enlightening and inspiring.

      Yes, Laurel was someone who unlikeable but hard to connect with at first...but could relate to her in some way shape or form.

      Thank you so much, Rashika! :)

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  6. This one I've been meaning to read for a while, since I feel like it's quite different from your usual contemporaries. Hopefully I'll get to sit with it this week or maybe the next!
    I discovered Kurt Kobain and Nirvana on the very same year that he died, so it was quite of big shock for my teenage self, having Laurel write quite a few letters to Kurt is also a big selling point for me for this book!
    Great review, Emma!

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    1. It certainly is unusual. But I hope you get to read this one soon, Pili! Oh wow, that really does have an impact on the book, so I hope it lives up to your expectations. Thanks for stopping by Pili!

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  7. This definitely sounds unique. Glad that you found it to be beautifully written and realistic! I've got this on my shelf, so it sounds like I need to start reading it soon :)

    Great review!

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    1. It is on all accounts. For me it was character driven and beautifully styled and written. Hope you get to read this one soon! Thanks, Lea!

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  8. I'm like you Emma - letter and journal formats usually keep me at an emotional distance rather than drawing me in, but I'm glad that in this particular case the letter format really worked for you. I like how different this book sounds, getting to know about Laurels life through her words to other people. Beautiful review!

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    1. They do, don't they! You would think that they would connect with you more, being so personal, but there is no real flow of emotional of physical connection with the characters, I find! I found using the words and talent of other people a very redeeming quality for this book. Thank you, Jenny!

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  9. I really do like the way the author has decided to write this book. I suppose this could work doe some readers, whilst it may not work for others. But books which can still evoke an emotional response from you despite being written differently is a winner in my eyes! I am even more excited now about giving this book a go! Lovely review Emma!

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    1. Me too, Jasprit. This is what drew me as well as the cover. Everything just worked so well together. It's an exceptional debut novel from this author. Hope you get to read this one soon, Jasprit! Thank you!

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  10. Wow what an amazing review Emma. Like I've mentioned, I'm a huge fan of letter/diary format so this one sounds like it's right up my alley. Her writing, based on the quotes you've used, is so beautiful, which is even more of a win. Have you ever read Golden by Jessi Kirby? It uses the same sort of English Assignment format and is just as gorgeously written!

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    1. Thank you so much Tammy! It really was beautifully written and I think that's what made this book what it is. No I don't believe I have, but I think I can picture the cover in my head. Thank you for stopping by. :)

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  11. LOL Now you know more about Nirvana that's for sure ;) I really like this book not only because it's unusual and different but also cause it's educational if nothing. I agree it talks about many things but still it all seems simple till you think about it. I'm really glad you enjoyed this one. Great review, Emma :)

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    1. Yes I do! But I'm always educated more from a friend. It is and that's the beauty of it. Yes it does stress some key points and it doesn't make you think about life even more. Thank you, Tanja! :)

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  12. I've never been much of a fan for realistic fiction, I wanted a copy of this book really bad because the cover is just gorgeous, I know kinda contradict your blog name. HAHA I always judge a book by its cover. hehe guilty as charge. I can't help it…

    I've been on and off with Love letters since most reviews I've read are mixed. I'm still unsure and also what's making me not buy the book is that it's so expensive here. *Cries* A moth practically flew out of my wallet.

    www.lite-rate-ture.com

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    1. No me either. But sometimes, some realism in book make me connect with the characters more and Love Letters certainly did capture that. The cover is gorgeous, I know. Don't worry I contradict my blog all the time.

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  13. Amazing review! It looks really good and I've heard amazing things about it, so I'll definitely add this to my TBR pile! :)

    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic

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    1. Hope you get to enjoy this one soon, Kyra. It's one of my favourites. :) Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  14. This book will definitely leave a certain pang in your stomach, making you think about the effects your life has on the people closest to you, in life and in death. You should definitely pick up this book, particularly if you enjoy Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

    This story will not disappoint! I’m adding Ava Dellaira to my list of new authors to keep a watch on.

    Marlene
    Best Reviews for House Cleaning San Antonio site info

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